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Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

Believe it or not, Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” makes me think of Mother’s Day.

Remember the scene where Allen’s character Alvy was stuck in line at the movies, subjected to the pompous blathering of a pseudo-intellectual? When the topic turned to media philosopher Marshall McLuhan, Alvy handily produced McLuhan himself to put the blowhard in his place.

By the same token, it would be great if those of us being accused of a mid-life crisis or being condescendingly told, “Okay, boomer” could whip out our mom to declare, “(Fill-in-the-blank) is still my baby!”

Other random thoughts about maternal sayings and tactics:

It’s not advisable to throw childhood lectures in your mother’s face years later. Let your elder relatives handle their own squabbles. Do not chirp, “Mom — this thing between you and Uncle Milo and Aunt Sylvia — you’re the oldest. You should know better!”

Mothers are just begging for snappy responses when they trot out chestnuts like “Are you going out dressed like that???” (“No, Ma, I’m stripping down and switching to formal attire in the front yard. Call 9-1-1 if it gives Mrs. Othelmeyer another heart attack.”)

All his biographers are tight-lipped about this aspect of his life, but I remain convinced that on more than one occasion teen-age Alexander Graham Bell’s mother met him at the door with a judgmental “You could have called.”

I’m sure there were mothers involved in the emergency response to the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, but why didn’t they work their motherly magic? You know, a little bit of spit should have cleaned up everything good as new.

Mothers teach us so many valuable life lessons, although there is often a guilt-trip agenda behind the information. (“It’s only an urban legend that you can see the Great Wall of China from outer space. My stretch marks, on the other hand…”)

How did crying wrangle an exclusive contract with America’s mothers? You know, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” What’s wrong with “Stop chortling or I’ll give you something to chortle about” or “Stop giving your brother a wet willie or I’ll give you something to give your brother a wet willie about”?

Blunt mothers are an existential threat to therapists, clergymen and mountaintop gurus. “Do you live to annoy me?” Talk about an epiphany of meaning and purpose! (“Thanks for the clarity!”)

“A little soap and water never hurt anybody.” That’s an oddly specific segment of the mortality statistics to cite. A cynical child might start having nightmares about being caught in the crossfire of a war between Dove, Dial and Irish Spring.

“Are your legs broken?” That diagnosis is a lot of responsibility to heap on a little kid. Who are you going to get a second opinion from – his imaginary friend?

“You’ll be treated like an adult when you start acting like one.” Yeah, that doesn’t age well. Get a diploma, a life partner and a mortgage and there’s still always someone telling you, “Eat this or you’ll die. Don’t read that! Ixnay with that energy source! Remember to take a mask if you get stranded on a deserted island…”

Still, there’s something comforting in the fact that mothers will still be mothers even when we’ve colonized other worlds.

“Don’t let that thing put you in its mouth! You don’t know where it has been!”

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

Controversial author Harlan Ellison once described the work of Danny Tyree as "wonkily extrapolative" and said Tyree's mind "works like a demented cuckoo clock."

Ellison was speaking primarily of Tyree’s 1983-2000 stint on the "Dan T’s Inferno" column for “Comics Buyer’s Guide” hobby magazine, but the description would also fit his weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades" column for mainstream newspapers.

Inspired by Dave Barry, Al "Li'l Abner" Capp, Lewis Grizzard, David Letterman, and "Saturday Night Live," "Tyree's Tyrades" has been taking a humorous look at politics and popular culture since 1998.

Tyree has written on topics as varied as Rent-A-Friend.com, the Lincoln bicentennial, "Woodstock At 40," worm ranching, the Vatican conference on extraterrestrials, violent video games, synthetic meat, the decline of soap operas, robotic soldiers, the nation's first marijuana café, Sen. Joe Wilson’s "You lie!" outburst at President Obama, Internet addiction, "Is marriage obsolete?," electronic cigarettes, 8-minute sermons, early puberty, the Civil War sesquicentennial, Arizona's immigration law, the 50th anniversary of the Andy Griffith Show, armed teachers, "Are women smarter than men?," Archie Andrews' proposal to Veronica, 2012 and the Mayan calendar, ACLU school lawsuits, cutbacks at ABC News, and the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

Tyree generated a particular buzz on the Internet with his column spoofing real-life Christian nudist camps.

Most of the editors carrying "Tyree’s Tyrades" keep it firmly in place on the opinion page, but the column is very versatile. It can also anchor the lifestyles section or float throughout the paper.

Nancy Brewer, assistant editor of the "Lawrence County (TN) Advocate" says she "really appreciates" what Tyree contributes to the paper. Tyree has appeared in Tennesee newspapers continuously since 1998.

Tyree is a lifelong small-town southerner. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. In addition to writing the weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades," he writes freelance articles for MegaBucks Marketing of Elkhart, Indiana.

Tyree wears many hats (but still falls back on that lame comb-over). He is a warehousing and communications specialist for his hometown farmers cooperative, a church deacon, a comic book collector, a husband (wife Melissa is a college biology teacher), and a late-in-life father. (Six-year-old son Gideon frequently pops up in the columns.)

Bringing the formerly self-syndicated "Tyree's Tyrades" to Cagle Cartoons is part of Tyree's mid-life crisis master plan. Look for things to get even crazier if you use his columns.